7 signs that your stress hormones are high
High level of stress hormones can affect your mind and body therefore, it is important to recognise its symptoms. Check out 7 signs of high stress functioning.
Having high stress hormones can be exhilarating at first; it can also lead to weight loss and heightened productivity until you hit a wall. Then all the ‘benefits' fade and you're left with anxiety, hair loss, weight gain, and the works. Adrenal glands in our body produce and release the stress hormone cortisol into the bloodstream as soon as our body senses stress. Cortisol, also known as the "stress hormone," raises blood pressure and heart rate. High levels of stress can affect your overall functioning therefore it is important to be aware of the cortisol level in the body and recognise the symptoms of high-stress functioning. (Also read: Mental health: Facts about stress you may not know)
Gut Health Dietitian, Kylie Ivanir, shared seven signs that you are running on stress hormones, in her recent Instagram post.
1. Digestive issues
Does using the bathroom 2 or 3 times in the morning sound familiar? Or not being able to go at all? If you have digestive issues, especially in the morning hours, you might be running on stress hormones. When stress hormones are pumping through your body all day every day, they shunt blood away from your digestive tract and also impact your gut microbes, both of which lead to dysregulated bowel movements.
2. Lack of appetite
Despite common belief, your lack of appetite (especially in the morning) isn't necessarily a positive thing. This actually points directly to an excess of stress hormones flowing through the body. In other words, stress hormones signal to your body that it's in "fight-or-flight mode," suppressing your appetite.
3. Disrupted sleep
Waking in the wee hours of the night is often indicative of a stress hormone imbalance. When your body is surviving off stress hormones, it is unable to enter the REM phases of sleep and causes sleep disruptions. In turn, sleepless nights can lead to an increase in stress hormones. It's another vicious cycle.
4. Cycles of binge eating and restricting
The stress hormone can make you binge, restrict, and repeat the cycle which can throw your hormones, metabolism, and digestion through the loop. For example, you get home after a long, stressful day at work to find leftover pizza in the fridge. You eat one too many pieces, which leaves you feeling engorged and bloated. Come the morning, you feel guilty for over-eating your dinner and decide to skip breakfast. Cue: the stress hormones. This binge, restrict, and repeat cycle throws your hormones, metabolism, and digestion through the loop.
5. Weight fluctuations
Are you having a difficult time maintaining a healthy weight? Stubborn weight gain or unexpected weight loss can have a lot to do with your stress hormones. Not only do excess stress hormones directly impact your weight, but they can also decrease satiety and increase food cravings, leading you to consume more calories (and often not from healthy sources).
6. Constant urge to be productive
Do you feel like you constantly need to be doing something? An addiction to productivity might sound like a good thing, but it's a tell-tale sign that your body is surviving on stress. Our bodies and minds were designed to need rest, recovery, and sleep. It's no fluke. Living at 100mph pace all day, every day is only possible when stress hormones are at play.
7. Irregular or missed periods
A constant release of stress hormones signals to your body that it's not safe. And your body doesn't want to reproduce in an unsafe environment. This is because evolutionarily stress was due to things like famine and being chased by lions - which is clearly not an environment to bring a baby into. You're probably thinking but I'm stressed from work and my social life, I'm not running from lions. Yes, but your body can't tell the difference between the two stressors. This leads to irregular or missed cycles.